The hazards of 19th century Green Square

Atlas of the Suburbs of Sydney - Waterloo 1886–1888

Paul’s Pottery Works in Waterloo was a 19th century landmark in the area.

By the 1880s it was manufacturing drainpipes and porcelain producing delicate brooches, earrings and scarf rings. 10-year-old Sonny Leonard drowned in the Paul’s Pottery Works waterhole in 1895. Sonny was Jessie and Patrick Leonard’s only child and the grandson of prominent local resident Isabella McElhinney.

Green Square’s lovingly restored terraces are a legacy of our 19th century residents. These peaceful streets suggest the past was simpler and more picturesque than it was.

Sonny’s death reflects the harsh realities of life in Green Square where many children drowned in local dams and waterholes.

Green Square was a place of hazard and struggle. Working people united to form strong communities in what were often unpleasant environments.

The City is naming Sonny Leonard Street and Paul Street in the new Green Square town centre to acknowledge the harsh realities of Green Square’s past.

Main image: Atlas of the Suburbs of Sydney - Waterloo 1886–1888. By Higinbotham & Robinson. Contributed by City of Sydney Archives.